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The University of Southampton
Southampton Law School

Challenging the Legal Conception of Patient Autonomy

Published: 15 December 2010

How do patients and their relatives experience family involvement in decision making?

Speaker: Dr Roy Gilbar, Nuffield Foundation Research Fellow, School of Law, Queen Mary, University of London.

Forthcoming seminar – Wednesday 15th December, 5pm, room 4043, building 4 (Law), Highfield, University of Southampton.

Brief abstract:

The legal debate about patient autonomy focuses mainly on mental capacity and provision of information. The influence of the family on the decisions of the competent adult patient has scarcely been discussed in English medical law. Dominated by the bioethical principle of individual autonomy, the law concentrates on the patient and takes an exclusionary stand regarding relatives. Hence, the aim of the paper is to examine the attitude of English law towards the involvement of relatives when patients make decisions, and to investigate the views and experiences of patients and their relatives in reality. Knowing what patients and relatives think about family involvement will inform the debate about patient autonomy.

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